Well, there are still a few days of NaNoWriMo left, and I’ll be using them to finish up here, there’s a few more things I would like to share about my novel with you. But for today, I’ll be giving you one final excerpt from Deus Ex Machina. If you would like to go back and see the other three excerpts, you can do so by clicking the following links:
And again, please keep in mind that this is all a rough first draft. The only editing I have done to it was a simple check over to make sure it’s at least readable. Enjoy:
“Well?” Xandria said with the air of impatience.
Saul ignored her as he walked into the back room and pored himself a glass of water. He downed it in one long go. He refilled the glass, sipped it, then walked back into the store and looked at the ladies. He took a deep breath and said, “Well, I was right.”
“About what?” Tanya asked as she put the part she had been playing around with down on the counter.
“It’s not a True Automaton.” It felt bad to say it. When he laid his eyes on the machine for the first time, he wanted it to be what it looked like because that would mean his father was more brilliant than he realized growing up.
“Oh?” Xandria said, her eyebrows raised.
Saul nodded his head. “I wanted it to be, I really did. But after examining it, I’m certain that it’s not.” He walked back into the workroom and grabbed another rag, he could still feel the oils on his hands. He took his left arm out of the sling and started to try to wipe his hands clean, trying not to wince at the pain from the bullet wound. “It’s an impressive piece of clockwork, that cannot be denied. In fact, I would venture a guess that it is the most elaborate and complete attempt at making a True Automaton. I could very well see it functioning like one.”
Xandria put the book down and shared a glance with Tanya, then said, “But…?”
Saul smiled, she had caught his drift. “But there’s no power source. There is nothing inside of it that could power the machine up; nothing that will get the cogs moving. No doubt my father was trying to work on that issue when he died, but the truth remains: there is no power.” He drank some more water and spoke as he put his arm back into the sling. “Besides, the fact that there is no way to power a True Automaton, something as complex as what’s down there, without a big power source is still true.
“Now, I did find towards the back, just in front of the clockwork spine, a small steam furnace, kind of like one that would power a steam torch system. It has tubing that runs throughout the entire machine, almost like veins for blood. It’s obviously meant for high pressure steam that would get the thing going, but like I said before, the steam wouldn’t be enough. There needs to be a power source to run the steam, which might, might, power the machine properly.
“I found an empty spot in the chest that my father left open for a power supply, but I think he passed away before he could finish. However, I doubt he could have found something that could safely power it for extended time so that it would be considered self-sustaining. As for the second part of the myth of the True Automaton, that it would need to be able to think for itself, that we wouldn’t be able to test until we got it moving, which we can’t do because of the lack of power.
“In other words, it’s not a True Automaton. It’s an advanced piece of clockwork that was a good attempt at best.”
Tanya stood up. “You sound disappointed.”
“I am,” Saul admitted. “I wanted my father to have succeeded.”
Xandria picked the book back up and handed it to him. “Saul, you better take a look at this.”
He took the book “Why? What is it?” He flipped it open. It looked like it was written in Latin.
“It’s a journal written by your father.”
She sounded like she was nearing tears, not out of sorrow, but out of excitement, like she couldn’t stand holding back what she wanted to say any longer, and Saul wondered why. “My father never kept any journals written in Latin.”
She took the book back from him. “This one is. Saul, it’s all his notes on the True Automaton. Everything. He had been working on this in secret for years, I think even before the king of England contacted him. I didn’t know your father knew Latin.”
“Yeah,” Saul said. “He learned it when he was in college. I learned a little, but never enough to get by. You know Latin, Xan?”
She nodded. “Yes. I know it fluently. I’ve been reading this. Saul, I think he got around the power problem.”
“What do you mean? Xan, it can’t be done!”
A small tear was running down her face. “Your father did it, Saul. He knew a way to make it work.” She has a smile on her face. “On one of the pages towards the end of his entries. He mentions that he was still having a problem with a power source. But then an idea came to him, he didn’t need more power, he needed a way to keep the power that he did have going. A continuous flow of power rather than one big power supply. Saul, how much like the human body is the machine?”
Saul wondered where she was going with all of this. So he humored her. “Well, I’m not a doctor, but near as I can tell it’s a good analog for the human body. It’s not anatomically perfect, no genitalia to speak of,” he gave her a sly smile, and she chuckled. “But as far as I know all the basics are there, torso, arms, legs, head, steam blood-like system, a brain, a spine. I would say that for clockwork, it’s about as close to a person as someone can get.”
Xandria nodded her head and said with suppressed excitement that was coming out in pure emotion, “And what does the human body need to live, Saul?”
“A lot more than that, I know that much. Where are you going with this, Xandria?”
She opened the book again. “What is the one thing your father always talked about?”
He was getting annoyed at the game of cat and mouse with her thoughts. “Xan, cut to the chase, please!”
She stepped closer to him. “Saul, what did you father say when people had a knack for clockwork? What did he always tell you that you had?”
Saul thought for only a split second. “He would say that they had the clockwork heartbeat.”
“That’s right! The clockwork heartbeat. He even named his book after his philosophy about clockwork. People need to have a clockwork heartbeat.” She opened the book and pointed to a line of text. “It says, ‘cordi, per quod agit vapor‘. That means, ‘heart that drives the steam’. He’s talking about the Automaton here, Saul.”
Saul stood there, trying to grasp what Xandria had figured out.
She continued. “The Automaton needs what every human body needs, Saul. It needs a heart! Not a power source that acts as a heart, it needs an actual heart. A clockwork heart to bring life to a clockwork man.”
-Excerpt from Deus Ex Machina; Chapter 32, by Andrew Ronzino
There you have it, I hoped you liked it.
Until my next entry,
Andrew Ronzino, a True Automaton